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Mehbooba needs to be 'convinced' that alliance with BJP is good for J&K

Mehbooba Mufti, who is seen as the successor of her father, the late Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, said she needs to be convinced that her party's alliance with the BJP in the state would help resolve Kashmir's issues, reports The Indian Express. The People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief said this at a four-hour-long party meeting held at her residence on Sunday. J&K has been under President's Rule since 8 January, after Mufti Mohammed Sayeed passed away and Mehbooba Mufti has kept silent about taking over as chief minister and forming a government in the state. During the meeting, Mehbooba said that the "purpose of that (alliance) was not limited to government formation, but it was to take Jammu and Kashmir out of the trouble that it has faced for most part of its history".

Scholarship money not paid, Dalit students threaten suicide

More than 12 Dalit students at the Raajdhani Engineering College in Bhubaneswar have threatened to commit suicide if the SC/ST welfare department of the Bihar government does not pay their scholarship money, reports The Telegraph. The students, all from East Champaran in Bihar, had been asked to leave the college over non-payment of fees. The fees are supposed to be paid by the Bihar SC/ST welfare department. They have now written to the East Champaran district administration threatening suicide if the scholarship money is not forthcoming.

Only 7% of college teachers are Dalit: report

A government report released last month showed that in the educational year 2014-15, only seven out of every 100 hundred teachers in colleges and universities across the country were from the Scheduled Castes, while teachers from the Scheduled Tribes comprised only two per cent, reports The Telegraph. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education Provisional Report for 2014-15, only 1.02 lakh (7.22 per cent) of the 14.1 lakh teachers in 716 universities and 38,056 colleges in the country are Dalits, while teachers from scheduled tribes comprise 30,000 or 2.12 per cent. These figures don't reflect even the national population of Dalits (16.6 per cent) and tribal communities (8.6 per cent).

Classes can resume, but conditions apply, say protesting Hyderabad University students

Work at the University of Hyderabad, which has been disrupted by protests after the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula on 17 January, will resume from today, reports The Indian Express. According to acting vice chancellor M Periasamy, a discussion with the Students' Joint Action Committee (JAC) on Sunday led to an agreement to resume classes from Monday, even though protests will continue. There are some conditions to be met, however. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes teachers in the institution who had joined the protests, will also return to work with conditions attached, said Periasamy.

Reservations demand in AP leads to burning of trains

Members of the Kapu community in Tuni, Andhra Pradesh, on Sunday set a train, a police station and several police stations on fire while demanding reservations under the Backward Class (BC) category, reports The Indian Express. The community, which comprises 23.4 per cent of the state's coastal population, was classified as BC till 1960, but declassified after that, and have been agitating for reservations ever since. Sunday's demonstration blocked the Chennai-Kolkata National Highway and the railway tracks at Tuni station. When the Ratnachal Express arrived, the protesters attacked it and set fire to four coaches that destroyed the entire train. The community said it would agitate indefinitely unless the government released a Government Order by Monday evening.

Governor seeks final word on govt formation in Jammu and Kashmir

Amid the tussle between the BJP and the PDP on continuing the coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, the core group of state BJP met in Jammu on Monday to discuss the political situation in the state. The meeting comes a day after PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti asserted that her party would have to reassess whether it can continue its alliance with the BJP to form a government in the state.The BJP too, is playing hardball as it has reportedly renewed its demand of rotational chief ministership for the state. The meeting - held in Gandhi Nagar - saw participation of core group members, including former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, former ministers, MPs and the BJP Jammu and Kashmir unit president, Satpal Sharma.

Police brutality on female students: Swati Maliwal sends notice to Delhi Joint Police commissioner

The Delhi Commission for Women has taken suo moto cognisance of a video showing police brutality against female students who were protesting outside RSS office in Jhandewalan on Saturday. The video shows a policeman beating female students and dragging one student by her hair.

The notice sent to the Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police questions why was police action taken the students, who were protesting peacefully and why was no police woman stationed at the protest site. DCW chief Swati Maliwal has sought a detailed status report on the police action on 30 January within 72 hours.

Fan of Baba Ramdev? Now order Patanjali Ayurveda products via Pluss app

Pluss, the on-demand medicine and healthcare products delivery service has entered into a partnership with yoga guru Baba Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurveda in Delhi.

Patanjali's range of FMCG products, including staples, groceries, nutrition, hair care, skin care, dental care and toiletries, will be sold through the Pluss App across Delhi and NCR.

Commenting on this tie-up, Madhulika Pandey, the Co-founder of Pluss said, "We are quite confident of this tie-up with Patanjali. The brand has already secured a position in the list of top five FMCG companies of India with an enormous consumer base and therefore, we as an on-demand platform that addresses the consumers' urgent pharmaceutical and health needs, decided to bring them on board."

A pot of gold: legalising marijuana will help Oz economy!

Australians may have just scored big. The Parliamentary Budget Office released an estimate that showed how much the government could earn if they placed a 10% tax on household usage of marijuana. This is what the PBO's plan look like:

  • legalise consumption, cultivation and trade of marijuana, cannabis and hemp by July 2017.
  • this would ideally result in a revenue increase of about 650 million dollars by 2019.
  • legalising would relieve the present expenditure on drug law enforcement too.

Sounds good? Well, most Australians seem to think so. But there still isn't any comprehensive step towards legalisation that's been taken.

Porn is a 'public health crisis' says Utah. Ummm, sure (?)

So there's a ridiculous number of studies that show how masturbation is actually healthy for you. But the state of Utah in America is now mulling over a legislation that will curb people's freedom to watch pornography. Their reason for doing this? According to one Senator Todd Weiler, porn was creating a "public health crisis". How, you ask? Well, Utah is apparently one of the states with the highest rate pornography usage in the US. Legislators there claim this has led to damaging addiction, hyper-sexualisation of youngsters, prostitution, dissatisfaction in marriage, infidelity and other related problems. And their solution is to ban porn. Ha! We know how well that worked in India.

The girl who cried wolf: teenager admits making up rape claims that angered Germany

Recently, there was outrage within the Russian-German community in Berlin, after a 13-year-old girl claimed she had been attacked by men of Middle Eastern or north African decent. The teenager had disappeared after school and then reappeared 30 hours later, with injuries to her face. When questioned by officials though, she admitted to concocting the entire rape episode. The girl had actually been afraid of going home, after the school had complained about some incident to her parents. These false claims didn't sit too well, especially given the tensions that have been brewing in Germany after Angela Merkel announced the controversial open-door policy towards refugees. Over 100 complaints have been filed so far, of sexual assaults carried out by migrants across the country.

Hundreds homeless in Mumbai as Mangrove protection rules misused

A mangrove protection cell set up in Maharashtra in 2012 has spelt doom for hundreds of families in Mumbai. Based on Bombay High Court orders, the cell demolishes all construction within 50 metres of mangroves. But, in slums where only some parts fall under the protected zone, officials have been demolishing the entire slum, rendering hundreds homeless for no fault of theirs, according to the Ghar Banao Ghar Bachao Andolan. "An official said one cannot distinguish between the old and the new houses or those lying perfectly on the boundaries of the forest and outside," the Andolan said in a statement.

Oldest female veteran in America passes away at 108

Alyce Dixon, nicknamed "Queen Bee", was the oldest female veteran in the US. Most notably, she was one of the first African-American women to serve overseas in their Army. She died last week at the age of 108. Dixon signed up with the army in 1943 and was part of the only unit of African-American women to serve abroad in World War II. At the age of 16, she changed the spelling of her name, to match the actress Alyce Mills. According to the Veterans Affairs department, she lived life on her own terms from that day on. Dixon was known for " her elegant sense of style, her long repertoire of eyebrow-raising jokes and very strong opinions."

Young woman sentenced to death for being a lesbian in Somalia

A 22-year-old Somalian woman managed to escape from her family, after they plotted to kill her. The crime? She was lesbian. It didn't help that she's an outspoken women's rights activist and has been campaigning for them since the age of 12. But being homosexual is a big deal in Somalia, where it is an officially punishable crime with a prison sentence of three years. In areas where the government doesn't have a hold, cases have been reported of people being killed for their sexual orientation. Thousands of men and women live in secret and never speak of their sexual identity, because they fear retribution from the Islamist terror group al-Shabaab.